As multiple blizzards blanketed Boston with snow this winter, many Bostonians were convinced that this must be the snowiest winter in the city’s history. On Sunday, Boston officially broke its seasonal snowfall record with 108.6 inches, the most white stuff to fall in one season since officials began keeping records in 1872.
"Boston has a rich tradition of leading the nation in the pursuit of liberty, freedom, sports titles, and snowplows," Bruce Mendelsohn, a Cambridge public relations executive, joked to the Associated Press.
As the snow began to pile up in February, some Boston residents took an entrepreneurial approach to the adverse weather conditions and began shipping the snow to other parts of the country.
"It started as a joke, but by mid-February we started to take it more seriously. Now we've shipped over 400 pounds of snow, with 100 pounds going out today, putting us over the 500 pound mark. It's been pretty exciting. It's nice fresh powder they'll be receiving, so it's a good product. And now customers will be purchasing a piece of history," says Kyle Waring, founder of the company Ship Snow Yo.
While 2.9 inches of snow fell on Sunday, a paltry amount compared to the 16 to 24 inches of previous snowstorms this winter, it was enough to break the record. The official measurement of 108.6 inches at Logan International Airport Sunday night topped a season record of 107.9 inches set in 1995-96, announced the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass.
"Superbowls, World Series', Stanley Cups, and snowfall records," Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted. "We are truly a title city. There will be no parade."
And many city dwellers are probably thankful that parade goers will not be congesting the already hampered transportation system.
The historic snowfall this winter has practically paralyzed the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the oldest transportation system in the country, leading to the sudden resignation of MBTA head Beverley Scott on Feb. 11. The transportation system was closed and a state of emergency called prior to her resignation.
February was Boston's snowiest month in history, with 64.9 inches of snowfall, and snowplows have been working at full capacity to remove the ice and clear the roads.
During a snowstorm, the Public Works Department is responsible for plowing 850 miles of roadway with the more than 500 pieces of equipment available. But with such intense snowfall this year, just plowing the streets has proved insufficient. Workers have also been busy removing excess snow, liquefying it with snow-melting machines, and removing truckloads to snow farms.
By late February, the city had already broken another record: the most money ever spent on snow and ice removal. Mayor Walsh said the city has spent an estimated $35 million on snow removal, almost double the allotted total of $18.5 million, Boston.com reported.
But as city crews struggled to melt snow faster than the rate of accumulation, Boston’s snow farms began to reach capacity. There was even talk of dumping snow in Boston Harbor, although some critics voiced concerns that this could have an adverse environmental impact.
Mr. Waring, meanwhile, was doing his bit for snow removal – advertising 12 pounds of "record-breaking snow" for $99 with two-day shipping.
All the winter weather took its toll on city residents – and their residences. Numerous roof collapses were reported throughout the Boston area, as well as house gutters ripped away by perilously oversized icicles. Work and school schedules also were impacted due to numerous snow-day closings. Right now, the last day of school for Boston Public Schools students is June 30.
Meanwhile, some observers noted that a parking war had broken out across the city as residents struggled to reserve their freshly shoveled parking spots with a plethora of household items and stern warning notes.
For those tired of the winter weather, temperatures are expected to rise to around 45 degrees throughout the day on Monday, allowing some of the snow to melt.
However, the weather service reported that more snow is possible – later this week.